Suicide prevention workshop

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A local woman with a history of suicidal thoughts says it is important to connect with your community.

Vicki Wise, of Albert Town, says she supports a suicide prevention workshop taking place tonight in Wanaka that aims to help people recognise the signs and to keep people safe.
The workshop, run by Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust, will help people regardless of prior experience or training become a suicide­ alert helper.

Ms Wise said she had made several suicide attempts, and wanted to tell her story because she didn’t want others to go through what she had experienced.
Ms Wise became unwell when she tried to project manage building her new house about four years ago.

At the same time she was working full-time, and was stressed by money issues related to her house build.
‘‘That was a little too much for my brain.
‘‘So essentially I had a nervous breakdown.’’

Ms Wise had previously self ­harmed, and knew she was in trouble so got in touch with her GP.
‘‘Off the back of that I ended up in hospital, because I was having suicidal thoughts.’’
Over the past few years she had several episodes including stays at Dunedin Hospital, and was given electro-convulsive therapy as well as prescription drugs.

About two years she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder so she had mood swings — ‘‘it’s up and down, and when it is up it’s fantastic’’.
‘‘The highs are amazing, I get so much done, I think I’m the greatest person in the world, but then the lows will get you, and you’ll crash.’’
It had taken some time to find the right combination of therapies for her.

‘‘With people who are wanting to attempt suicide it is not that they want to die necessarily.’’ ‘‘A lot of the time you just want to take the pain away, or you want to take the pressure away,’’ Ms Wise said.
However, having friends and connections in the community were important because they could ‘‘check in’’ if there was a change in behaviour.
Sometimes people under stress would withdraw, or change their character.

Being able to ‘‘rally round’’ and stay with a person when they were having dark thoughts was a way to help stabilise.
‘‘In my opinion you don’t stay suicidal 24/7. It fluctuates.’’
These were the moments when it was important to reach out and make sure you communicate with someone else.

People ‘‘put on brave faces’’ but it was ‘‘brave to be vulnerable’’ and acknowledge when you needed help, she said.

‘‘It is OK to have suicidal thoughts, but you don’t need to act on it — it will pass.’’
Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust chairwoman Corinda Taylor said most people with thoughts of suicide did not truly want to die, but were struggling with the pain in their lives.

The workshop could help people recognise the signs of someone in distress and help take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources.

★ The safeTALK Suicide Prevention Workshop will be held at Edgewater Hotel, Sargood Dr, Wanaka, on Thursday, February 13 from 6pm to 10pm. For details email contact@lifematters.org.nz

 

Where to get help:

Healthline: 0800 611-116 0800

Lifeline: 0800 54 33 54 or free text HELP 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Samaritans: 0800 726-666

Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787-797

General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366

Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757

Free counsellor: Call or text 1737